TEMPE – The No. 7 Arizona State University softball program has been voted in a tie with Washington as the top team in the Pac-12 Conference following the preseason polling of the Pac-12 softball coaches, as announced by the conference office on Thursday.
The Sun Devils and the Huskies both received 60 points, with Arizona State earning five first-place votes and Washington earning four. Both teams are ranked in the top 10 of both the USA Today/NFCA and the ESPN.com/USA Softball preseason polls, with Washington coming in at third and fifth respectively and Arizona State placing seventh in both. ASU and UW were the only two Pac-12 teams to advance to the Women’s College World Series last season, with the Huskies finishing third overall in the postseason.
It is only the fourth time in the history of the coaches poll that two teams have tied for first, as Arizona and UCLA were picked to split the title three times previously (2011, 2002 and 2001).
The Sun Devils enter the 2014 campaign with four returning All-Americans on the roster in Dallas Escobedo, Amber Freeman, Cheyenne Coyle and Alix Johnson – the most returning All-Americans of any team in the nation.
Escobedo, Freeman and Coyle also enter the season on the USA Softball Preseason Watch List for the National Player of the Year award, tied for the highest tally of any team in the country.
The team also returns the likes of All-Pac-12 selections in Mackenzie Popescue, Haley Steele, Bethany Kemp, Bailey Wigness, Elizabeth Caporuscio and Nikki Girard to a program that has advanced the to the Women’s College World Series in seven of the last eight seasons – two more appearances than any other team in the nation.
The Sun Devils will open the season on Thursday, Feb. 6 against Creighton in the opener of the 2014 Kajikawa Classic at Farrington Stadium in Tempe, Ariz. Tickets for the upcoming season are now on sale and available through the following link.
2014 Pac-12 Softball Coaches Poll
1. Arizona State 60
3. Oregon 48
4. UCLA 42
5. Stanford 38
6. Arizona 28
7. California 18
8. Oregon State 15